Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday termed as “impractical” an Environment Ministry guideline asking authorities of temples located in forests to control the number of pilgrims visiting them as a step to maintain the ecological integrity of such areas.
“That's impractical. How can we agree with it?” Mr. Chandy said when asked whether the guideline would be applicable for Sabarimala – a hill shrine situated in the middle of a dense forest.
The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala witnesses heavy rush every year during the pilgrim season beginning in November.
The Chief Minister said he would meet Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan to discuss the issue.
The recent Environment Ministry guideline directs the authorities of temples located in forests to fork out at least 10 per cent of their income for development of local communities.
The guideline asks the temple authorities to develop a system in three years for controlling the number of pilgrims so as to maintain the ecological integrity of the areas. It also stipulates that Protected Areas must be in accordance with the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Environment Protection Act, 1986 to prevent further expansion.
Hindu organisations have raised apprehension that strict implementation of the guideline would stall the implementation of a master plan being prepared by the government-controlled board which administers the temple.
Core area issue
Mr. Chandy said he would also discuss the issues related to a recent Supreme Court directive banning tourism in core areas of tiger reserves across the country. – PTI
Ministry directive to regulate crowds at temples in forests Chandy to discuss issue with Environment Minister
Ministry directive to regulate crowds at temples in forests
Chandy to discuss issue with Environment Minister